New Faces in USA Men's 7s Fall Camp
New Faces in USA Men's 7s Fall Camp
USA Men's 7s Head Coach Mike Friday has named his camp attendees for the upcoming Sevens World Series tournaments in Edmonton and Vancouver.
With Captain Madison Hughes announcing that he is taking time away from the team, and with the COVID shutdown (sort of) behind us as are the Olympics, there's space for new blood.
Eight up-and-comers have been named to join the squad following the RugbyTown 7s.
New Camp Attendees:
Adam Channel | Hooker. Former HS All American. Giltinis (RugbyTown 7s), Belmont Shore (Club 7s)
Shawn Clark | Forward, USA U23s (RugbyTown 7s), Colorado XOs.
Aaron Cummings | Forward, Houston (RugbyTown 7s), Chicago Lions (Club 7s). Grand Haven HS (Mich.), Davenport University.
Jerome Nale | Halfback, Santa Rosa (RugbyTown 7s)
Aki Raymond | Wing, Tsunami Barbarians (RugbyTown 7s). HS All Americans, Univ. Maryland.
David Still | Wing, USA U23s (RugbyTown 7s), Colorado XOs.
Jack Wendling | Forward, USA U23s (RugbyTown 7s). HS All Americans, Chuckanut U19s (Wash.), Central Washington University.
Alex Wormer | Forward, Denver Selects (RugbyTown 7s), Barbarians (Club 7s), Cal Poly
In addition, former West End, Atlantis, and Kutztown standout D’Montae Noble and former HS All American and UCLA standout Lucas LeCamp were invited but are unable to attend.
All athletes were scouted from Club 7s National Championships and RugbyTown 7s which recently held events for the first time in two years. Rebuilding the USA program while players couldn't play due to COVID shutdowns has, of course, been difficult for Friday and his staff. The establishment of regional Talent ID Camps hosted by USA Rugby’s High Performance Pathways and World Rugby, as well as the advent of the Colorado XOs initiative by the City of Glendale, has helped.
Added to the mix now are new opportunities by way of PR Sevens, a professional rugby sevens league to kick off in October. In collaboration with national team coaches, the league will provide additional talent identification and development opportunities for all up-and-coming players, as well as those included in Friday’s list of prospects.
“Well-done to Howard Kent and his team for Club 7s Nationals, as well as Linda Cassady and the City of Glendale for making RugbyTown 7s and the Colorado XOs a success,” said Friday. “There were a lot of positives coming out of those events, not only in the eight players coming in next week but in the longer list of athletes we’ve identified as prospects. We need competitions, programs and clubs to keep that conveyor belt of talent flourishing, so the national team can continue to be among the top rugby nations in the world. We all have to be realistic about the work ahead in these next few months as this transition between cycles will be the most difficult and challenging yet, compounded by the last 18 months of COVID disruption.”
Believe it or not, the Olympics loom once again. With Tokyo 2020 delayed a year, it's now only three years until Paris 2024, and then Los Angeles 2028 is right after that.
“We need a bridge between the collegiate game and the national team pathway to keep the pipeline full of players as this cycle unfolds," Friday continued. "The PR Sevens will complement what we have seen this summer, together with the continued work on the High Performance Pathways side. All of this is key to creating those opportunities either with a professional sevens team or junior national team program. It is a tight and incredibly harsh timeline from a talent identification and development perspective but we have a great opportunity in this next high performance camp to bring these eight new players into the fold and get the longer list in the mix in the upcoming PR Sevens and pathways program. We want them in a position to make that jump when the time is right and that may be in these first two legs or later in the Series.”
The USA Men depart in mid-September for the first two legs of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Vancouver (Sept 18-19) and Edmonton (Sept 25-26). Singapore and Cape Town stops have been canceled due to COVID-19 impacts while Dubai will now host two events (Nov 26-27; Dec 3-4) to mark the start of the new 2022 season.